After the panic and confusion of last week, which ended with the unfortunate closure of Vanuatu’s signature annual open air music festival, I would like to take a moment away from the rumour mill and blame game to acknowledge the great work of all the following bodies:
• The COVID Taskforce and its army of committed agencies and staff — both here in the capital, as well as provincially and at Vanuatu missions abroad — who have worked tirelessly in difficult, unpredictable circumstances, to maintain the strictest protocols to keep Vanuatu safe from community transmission. Without their leadership and commitment since March 2020, Vanuatu could well be in a very different situation from that we enjoy today.
• The frontline workers, at borders, in transport and in quarantine facilities who regularly undergo strict testing and isolation protocols, in order to do their jobs well, help families reunite and keep Vanuatu safe from COVID.
• The private sector businesses across our islands who have undergone training to ensure that they, their staff and customers are COVID-ready no matter what.
• All the chiefs and churches advocating community safety, and every single member of public who has put community and public health at the forefront of their minds by becoming vaccinated and “loving thy neighbour” by doing so.
• The dedicated Fest’ Napuan Committee who worked carefully and inspiringly to develop a festival celebrating Vanuatu’s musical culture and providing a much needed economic boost to people — even though it could not happen, this community spirit must be commended during rather bleak COVID times.
• The Vanuatu media for efforts to report responsibly on COVID updates, working closely with government to ensure that situations are not worsened by misinformation.
Tankyu tumas Vanuatu! Let’s take some time to appreciate the slogan “Yumi evriwan tugeta” and acknowledge the many leaders and workers who regularly embody this spirit.